For Immediate Release
MADIGAN: ICAC PRESENTS EQUIPMENT FOR WATERLOO POLICE DEPARTMENT TO TRACK ON-LINE PREDATORS
OTHER AREA AGENCIES ALSO BENEFIT
Fairview Heights – Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced the grant of state-of-the art computer hardware, forensic software and training to the Waterloo Police Department. The equipment and training comes through a federal grant awarded to the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force as part of its mission of increasing the forensic capabilities of Illinois police agencies in the recovery of evidence in child exploitation cases.
Joined by Waterloo Mayor Terry Kipping, Madigan applauded the commitment by Chief Joseph Brauer and Captain Suzanne Sweet of the Waterloo Police Department in using the equipment and training to help protect Metro East children from sexual predators.
“As younger children become more frequent Internet users, the need to protect them from the dangers lurking on-line has increased,” Madigan said.
“The Waterloo Police Department, in association with Attorney General Madigan and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is committed to making the Internet a safer environment for our community and our children,” said Chief Brauer.
According to a national survey of youth conducted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children ( www.missingkids.com), 34% of youth surveyed reported seeing sexually explicit material on-line, 9% of youth reported being harassed on-line and 13% of youth surveyed reported being solicited for sex on-line.
“We must be vigilant in protecting the children of Illinois from the threat of on-line predators,” Madigan said. “This equipment will further enhance the ability to identify, arrest and prosecute sexual predators.”
Illinois’ Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (“ICAC”), based in the Attorney General’s Office, was created in 2004 and is funded through a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Currently, approximately 60 law enforcement agencies statewide are partners of ICAC and work collaboratively to combat child victimization in Illinois.
ICAC’s goal is to identify, arrest and convict sex offenders who prey on children using computer technology - including the Internet. In the first six months of 2006, Illinois ICAC was responsible for the arrest of 34 individuals for crimes including child pornography, indecent solicitation of a child, sexual abuse and sexual assault.
As part of its work, ICAC acts as a statewide clearinghouse for receiving and investigating tips, including cybertips received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Along with leading investigations, ICAC conducts forensic exams on computers and provides technical assistance to law enforcement agencies throughout the state. Additionally, Madigan’s High Tech Crimes Bureau and ICAC provide internet safety trainings to parents and children in communities around the state. In the first nine months of 2006, Madigan’s High Tech Crimes Bureau and ICAC have trained 18,000 students and parents on internet safety.
The equipment that Madigan’s office is providing to the Waterloo Police Department will be housed at the Metro East Cyber Crimes and Analysis Task Force (MCCA), which is headquartered at the FBI office in Fairview Heights.
“The ICAC Task Force and this grant are prime examples of how law enforcement at all levels – federal, state, county and local – are working together to deliver Internet crime fighting resources throughout the state,” Madigan said.
This month, Illinois ICAC will provide funding for Waterloo Police Captain Suzanne Sweet to attend training on the use of the new computer software designed to allow forensic analysts to examine the contents of a computer and other evidence. In August, Captain Sweet attended the ICAC National Conference in Dallas.
Madigan also recognized Detectives Michael Bazzell of the Alton Police Department and David Vucich of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department who will also take advantage of the forensic software training. Earlier this year, Detective Vucich attended the ICAC Investigative Techniques course offered by the National ICAC.More information on Illinois’ Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, including information on how to protect children from on-line dangers, can be found at www.illinoisicac.org.